Stagecoach to expand passenger smartcard options

Stagecoach Group has announced a major expansion in the use of smartcard technology on its bus and rail services in the UK.

More than 53 million smartcard transactions are already made on Stagecoach buses and trains each year, including the UK's first use of the Government's preferred ITSO technology on the national rail network and the country's first contactless bankcard payment scheme in Merseyside.

Stagecoach Group has also developed its own StagecoachSmart travel card, using a system provided by Vix ERG, to offer multi-modal ticketing on its bus and rail services using the ITSO technology. The company recently launched the card throughout its Cambridgeshire bus operation.

The planned expansion of smartcard provision will include:
> Completing the installation of ITSO-enabled card readers on its entire UK bus fleet by November 2010. Some 85 per cent of the 7,000 buses are already fitted with the technology, including all those in Wales and Scotland;
> Extending the use of smartcard ticketing on the South West Trains network to cover more than 80 stations by the end of 2010. The system was introduced in 2008 and already covers 54 stations;
> The continued roll out of StagecoachSmart travel cards across the UK bus division, starting throughout Cambridgeshire. The cards allow passengers to store their tickets electronically and also provide the option for bus travel to be paid for through automatic monthly payments. The Group plans to introduce StagecoachSmart travel cards across its regional bus operations, offering potential integration with other operators' services in the future where infrastructure and commercial agreements are in place.

Martin Griffiths, Stagecoach Group finance director, said: "Our investment in smartcard technology means we are leading the way in the UK in making it easier for people to travel and make integrated journeys using public transport."

In October 2009, Stagecoach – in partnership with Mastercard and RBS WorldPay - also became the first bus operator in the UK to accept Tap and Go contactless bankcard payments. The company has fitted its 170-strong Merseyside bus fleet with state-of-the-art technology which allows passengers to pay for their travel simply by tapping their debit or credit cards on a high-tech reader.

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